Cherokee Nation W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex, health centers, and satellite offices will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024. Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital urgent care, emergency department, and other emergency services will remain open.


Health Services


COVID-19 Vaccine

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Additional Vaccine Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is getting the COVID-19 vaccine important?

COVID-19 is a "novel" (new) coronavirus, so our bodies do not have antibodies to recognize and defend against this new virus. COVID-19 spreads quickly and significant numbers of people can become seriously ill or lose their life due to COVID infection. Getting vaccinated will slow down and prevent the spread of infection. This will help keep hospitals such as Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital from being overwhelmed, and it will save lives.

What studies have been conducted on mRNA technology?

Scientists have been studying mRNA vaccines for decades. Early stage clinical trials using mRNA vaccines have been carried out for influenza, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Recent technological advancements in RNA biology and chemistry, as well as delivery systems, have reduced previous challenges associated with mRNA vaccines and improved their stability, safety, and effectiveness.

How will the COVID-19 vaccine interact with my medications?

The vast majority of prescription medications will work normally after a COVID-19 vaccine and the medications won’t diminish the effectiveness of the vaccine. There are exceptions and the group of medications called immunosuppressant’s may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. If you’re unsure or have questions about your medication(s) possible interaction with the vaccine contact your medical provider.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect a woman’s fertility?

The COVID-19 vaccine will not affect fertility. Confusion arose when a false report surfaced on social media, comparing the spike protein found in the COVID-19 vaccine to a protein in a woman’s body, saying it would affect a woman's fertility. The COVID virus spike protein is different and distinct from the suspected protein in a woman’s body, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods. Testing of the COVID-19 vaccine proves this myth is false.

What is in the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are a combination of mRNA, fats, salts, and sugar.

Pfizer Ingredients List:

  • mRNA
  • lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol)
  • potassium chloride
  • monobasic potassium phosphate
  • sodium chloride
  • dibasic sodium phosphate dehydrate
  • sucrose

Moderna Ingredients List:

  • mRNA
  • lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC])
  • tromethamine
  • tromethamine hydrochloride
  • acetic acid
  • sodium acetate
  • sucrose

Why wasn’t mRNA technology used sooner?

Funding is a barrier to scientific research, and mRNA studies previously lacked the money necessary to continue. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked global collaboration between top scientists and sharing of data and information. This scientific advancement and the urgency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic allowed for the COVID-19 vaccine to receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

What is an EUA?

  • An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States is an authorization granted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An EUA uses an alternative evaluation process to quickly make medicines and vaccines available during public health emergencies. If a drug or vaccine passes evaluation, it’s granted an EUA.
  • The FDA decision is based on all of the scientific evidence available showing that the product may be effective to prevent illnesses like COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product. FDA may issue an EUA when certain criteria are met, which includes that there are no adequate, approved, available alternatives.
  • After FDA authorizes a vaccine for emergency use, it continues to be studied to determine how well it works under real-world conditions. Having an EUA means that the vaccine is available for emergency use only, outside of a research study but is not yet officially approved. This is the usual first step for a new vaccine. The vaccine can continue to be used as long as people benefit from it. The research continues as it moves toward full approval.